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Force urge ARU to consider more than money

NZN 9/04/2017 Chris Pike

The Western Force remain hopeful they will survive in Super Rugby with chief executive Mark Sinderberry urging the Australian Rugby Union to consider more than financial factors.

It was announced by governing body SANZAAR on Sunday following the Force's win over the Southern Kings at nib Stadium that the Super Rugby competition will be cut from 18 teams to 15 for 2018.

Two South African teams will go and one from Australia, leaving the Force and Melbourne Rebels on the chopping block.

It's generally thought the Force are the natural option for the ARU, given they haven't played finals despite entering the competition in 2006 and they have had financial troubles.

However, the growth of rugby in WA since the club's inception has been impressive in terms of participation at underage level and local players earning their stripes professionally.

The fear is both areas will plummet without a local Super Rugby franchise for players to aspire to represent.

Sinderberry is still waiting to find out from the ARU exactly what they will base their decision on, but feels it would be a mistake if it's solely to do with money.

"At this stage we don't know what the criteria is but it's been suggested through a number of parties that financial factors are a priority," Sinderberry said.

"What we have to make sure is that the right decision is made for the right reasons. That has to be a combination of financial and what we are doing in the rugby community and the opportunity that exists in the respective areas for rugby.

"We will always believe very strongly that rugby is a national game and has to be represented that way. That criteria, if it just covers finance, would be short-sighted."

Sinderberry is also of the opinion that the mooted 48 to 72-hour deadline for the decision to be made is unrealistic.

"I thought there was a number of other comments that extended that period even further so in my mind there's not an immediate time frame so I don't think the 48 to 72 hours is realistic at all," Sinderberry said.

"For a lot of reasons for all of us, a quick decision is a better decision but we've also got to make sure the right decision is made that we can all understand and work with."

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